LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 19, 2019) – Each week, the NTRA will provide a guide to the best stakes races in North America and beyond. Races are listed in chronological order (all times Eastern). Full previews when available can be found through the link for each race.
This weekend is part of the calm before the storm of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 4. Highlighting the relatively light lineup of graded stakes is the $1 million, Grade 2 Charles Town Classic Stakes.
Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) will broadcast live from Hollywood Casino at Charles Town on Saturday from 4-6pm on Sirius/XM 156 with live streaming accessible on computers, tablets and mobile devices on the HRRN website, www.horseracingradio.net.
Friday April 19
5:30 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 Hilliard Lyons-Baird Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland on TVG
St. George Stable’s Jala Jala (MEX), a star at Mexico City’s Hipodromo de las Americas, will shoot for her first graded stakes victory in the United States when she goes postward in the Doubledogdare going 1 1/16 miles. Named Mexico’s Horse of the Year for 2017, Jala Jala dominated horses from the Caribbean by winning Caribbean Cup races at Gulfstream by nine lengths in December 2017 and by 4½ lengths last December. Trainer Ignacio Correas IV said Grade 1 winner Blue Prize (ARG) would scratch from the Doubledogdare in favor of the Grade 1 La Troienne on May 3 at Churchill Downs.
Saturday April 20
4:51 p.m.—$125,000 Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes at Woodbine on TVG
Shakopee Town, a homebred for Bill and Al Ulwelling, makes her Canadian debut in the Whimsical Stakes on the opening day of the 2019 Woodbine Thoroughbred meet. A four-time winner from 10 starts, Shakopee Town, trained by Kevin Attard, will be contesting her fifth race of the year, a campaign that’s already yielded two wins and a second.
5:30 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 2 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland on TVG
Michael Hui’s Zulu Alpha, winner of his past two starts in graded stakes company, headlines a field of 10 going 1½ miles on the turf. The winner of the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes here last fall when trained by John Ortiz, Zulu Alpha is now conditioned by Mike Maker and comes into Saturday’s race off victories in the 1 ½-mile Grade 3 W.L. McKnight Handicap (G3) and the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream Park.
5:37 p.m.—$1,000,000 Grade 2 Charles Town Classic Stakes at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races on TVG
Grade 1 winner Discreet Lover is set to make his first start since finishing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last November. Owned and trained by Uriah St. Lewis, Discreet Lover – a $10,000 purchase at public auction – became one of racing’s great Cinderella stories when he captured the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup last September. Among those attempting to derail him Saturday will be veteran Imperative, winner of the Charles Town Classic in 2014 and 2017, and graded stakes winner War Story.
Equibase featured race: http://www.equibase.com/free/index.cfm?SAP=TN
6:12 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Kona Gold Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG
Dr. Dorr and Kanthaka head a field of five older sprinters in Saturday’s Kona Gold Stakes going 6 ½-furlongs. Supplemented at a cost of $4,000, 6-year-old Dr. Dorr will be making his second start off of a 7 ½ month layoff while 4-year-old Kanthaka will be making his fourth graded stakes start of the current meet.